A couple of weeks ago I did a feature on my favourite artists from around the world. This week I’m going to bring things closer to home and want to share with you the work of some amazing artists here in the UK.
Our little island is brimming with incredible artistic talent and here’s an insight into just a few of my favourites.
BRIERLEY THORPE Brierley Thorpe Face and Body Art
I first became aware of Brierley at the FACE Conference in Hertfordshire in 2011 when she won the FACE Award and the Best Kept Kit award. I’d not had a chance to speak to her during the conference nor see her working but I quickly became much more familiar with her artistic talent. To say her designs are instantly recognizable is an understatement! Her strong and dynamic style stands out immediately and the vibrancy takes your breath away.
Her body painting is equally awe inspiring each one set off brilliantly with exquisite hand-made headpieces; hairpieces and jewels adorning the beautiful models.
Each design is the result of extensive research and inspiration from a profusion of sources. Brierley explains here in her blog how her recent design painted at the 2014 Paradise Jam came about.
You can see more of her resplendent work on her Facebook page here.
Brierley also offers training workshops in her studio in Walthamstow.
KJ (KELLY-JANE ERKIN) KJ Entertainments
The 2011 FACE Conference also resulted in my first meeting with Kelly-Jane – known fondly to most as KJ. I’ll never forget setting up my kit beside her for my first attempt at the Face Painter of the Year competition (and my first ever live competition) trembling with nerves. On striking up a conversation, I was relieved to hear that she was as anxious as me and we both egged each other on to avoid bottling it all together!
KJ and her partner (in love and business) Dan run KJ Entertainments in Cambridgeshire offering everything you could need for a party from KJ’s painting to Dan’s awesome balloon modelling with a little bit of fabulous singing thrown in too!
KJ’s painting designs are quite simply the epitome of prettiness! Her style is uncomplicated and seemingly effortless. She has a natural ability for one stroke painting – producing such delicate work with flamboyant brush strokes.
What I love most about KJ’s work is that she is a fabulous example of an extremely talented “jobbing” face painter – someone who can turn out endless, original, rapid designs with a bit of an edge keeping impatient children and parents happy whilst still turning heads with the results. I often look to KJ’s photos for inspiration when my creative genes are waning!
WENDY HOLROYD (The Paintertainer)
Another artist with an immediately identifiable style. Wendy, from St Albans, has been painting since 2007.
Wendy is renowned in our industry for her beautifully delicate, lifelike butterflies. Many an artist strives to perfect a “Wendy Butterfly” much in the same way that we aspire to emulate a “Mark Reid tiger”!
Her talent is magical to watch – effortless brush strokes and often unexpected colour blend choices come together to produce flawless, ethereal designs.
I’m particularly grateful to Wendy for saving me from my design nemesis – Spidey. It is a pet hate of mine when I see beginner face painters (myself in the early days included) smother entire faces with layer upon layer of red paint followed by heavy black linework – you can see the parents shudder at the thought of removing it all at bedtime! Wendy’s delicate interpretation of this popular boys’ request inspired me (and many others) to come up with my own version that wows the children; beats the queues and pleases the nervous parents.
NAOMI GAYE “NAMS” (Nam Nam’s Face Painting and Body Art)
Bizarrely, I’ve just realized that Nams is yet another artist who I first met at what seems to be becoming a rather significant FACE Conference in 2011!!
She has won many awards during her ten year painting career including three times winner of the FACE Association” Face Painter of the Year – I managed to pinch it off her in 2012 but she stole it right back again in 2013!!! Well deserved I hasten to add!
Based in Brighton, Nams has been face painting for 10 years and is a fabulous all round face and body artist but is particularly known for her intricate eye designs. She is always a massive hit at festivals and frequently shares her expertise with fellow painters touring the country offering training workshops.
A huge thank you to all of the above artists and many many more that inspire me every day. We have so many talented people the length and breadth of the UK.
Please please please non-painty people, if you are looking for a face painter for your event please don’t compromise and pick the cheapest you can find. There are SO many wonderful, professional artists to choose from who may not be “cheap” but you really do get what you pay for in terms of experience, quality of products; customer service and professionalism. Fascinating Faces covers Surrey and the surrounding counties but we can always recommend people to you all over the country so please get in touch wherever you may be! We’re always happy to help you find the best.
“FACE” The Face Painting Association was formed 20 years ago so that like-minded people could get together to share ideas and professional problems in order to improve standards and raise the profile of face painting. You can find out more about joining or find a professional face painter local to you by visiting http://www.facepaintingassociation.com/
Credits to all the artists mentioned can be found by clicking on the pink text within the article.